Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Don Flowers

Donald L. Flowers was born in Custer City, Oklahoma, on October 18, 1908. His birth date is from the California Death Index and his birthplace was mentioned in Famous Artists & Writers (1949), The Glamor Girls of Don Flowers (2006) and Find a Grave. A second post at Find a Grave said Flowers’s middle name was Lloyd.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded Flowers as the youngest of three children. His mother, Mabel, was the head of the household. They lived in Custer City. Flowers’s father, William Adolphus Flowers (according to his World War I draft card), resided in Springfield, Missouri, at 319 1/2 Booneville. Flowers’s father was a photographer who operated a photo gallery. Early in his career he was known as W.A. Flower*. When W.A. Flowers signed his draft card, on September 12, 1918, he was in Kansas City, Missouri, at 414 East 12th Street. He was a photographer at Anderson Photo Company.

In the 1920 census, Flowers’s mother had remarried to Al A. Hancock, a barber. Flowers’s home was Kansas City, Missouri at 1307 Cherry Street. Flowers’s father also lived in Kansas City at 1518 Oak Street and continued his photography business.

Famous Artists & Writers said Flowers “quit school at the age of 16 to go to work on the Kansas City Star as a staff artist and photo retoucher. It was there that Don first began to develop his latent artistic talents; previously, he had just loafed to high school daily and loafed back and let the days slip happily, lazily by.” Flowers acknowledged the influence of artists Ralph Barton, Jeff Machamer, Russell Patterson and Englishman Gilbert Wilkinson. At age 20, Flowers moved to the Chicago American newspaper and, a few months later, was working for a syndicate.

According to the 1930 census, newspaper artist Flowers was married to Jane. The couple lived in Manhattan, New York City, at 5 Prospect Place. Flowers’s mother, a widow, remained in Kansas City where she was an artist. His father had remarried and was a resident in Cleveland, Oklahoma.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Flowers created several Associated Press panels. His Modest Maidens ran from March 17, 1930 to October 20, 1945. Flowers drew Puffy the Pig from October 13, 1930 to October 10, 1931. Puffy was continued by W.A. Kolliker, Milton Caniff and Mel Graff. Oh Diana was produced by Flowers from March 17, 1931 to November 1, 1941. He was followed by Bill Champe, Virginia Clark, Wood Cowan, Phil Berube and Vernon Rieck. In the late 1930s, Beauty and the Beach featured Flowers art with Betty Clarke’s text.

Syracuse Herald 11/25/1934

Cartoonist Flowers and Jane resided in Manhattan at 405 East 54th Street as recorded in the 1940 census. His mother continued her artistic career in Los Angeles, California. Flowers’s father has not been found in the 1940 census.

Associated Press drawing in the
World-Herald, 11/21/1940

The Reading Eagle (Pennsylvania), June 1, 1941, published the article “Model Wife—Mrs. Flowers Helps Husband in Work as Cartoonist”.

In his National Cartoonists Society profile, Flowers said he moved to Arizona and California in 1943. He married Maud Connors according to a family tree at Ancestry.com.

For the King Features Syndicate, American Newspaper Comics said Flowers began Glamor Girls on October 22, 1945. The daily and Sunday panel ran until February 3, 1968.

Flowers passed away January 8, 1968, in Los Angeles, as recorded in the California death index. Additional information about Flowers, by his son, is here

* Under the name W.A. Flower, he was mentioned a few times in the Guthrie Daily Leader (Oklahoma): September 30, 1893; twice in the second column on November 21, 1893; and January 12, 1894. Three photographs by Flower were published in the London-based periodical Strand Magazine, September 1897, on pages 140, 141 and 142. The Bulletin of Photography, June 24, 1914, noted his whereabouts. One of his photographs appeared on page 14 of the History of Photography Part 4: Photography as a Tool (2012).

—Alex Jay


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